Monday, May 31, 2004

Alive again

I am back after 2 weeks of Paris, Regensburg, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Munich, Tallinn and having my parents over in Helsinki, Did not get eaten by mom, but that's only because I kept feeding her other stuff. It was fun - I'll go into more details later. But now my common sense, work motivation and sense of time have been temporarily misplaced due to waking up at 5 in the morning and then passing out again at 10.

I need a cup of tea, some booze and some mindless violent entertainment. As opposed to, say, reading all the accumulated email at work.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Bye for a while

So-called real life is going to be interfering with my blogging for about 2 weeks, so don't expect any updates to this blog after today. Might write something tonight though if I get tired of all those chores, and might write maybe once or twice during those 2 weeks, but that is unlikely.

I'll be back in 2 weeks with new things to write about. If I don't, it means that mom saw my apartment and ate me.

Older women and hair

As I was buying strawberries today the saleswoman (a woman in her fifties) complimented me on my hair and said that she used to have long hair like that as well (mine is just below my waist; hers is just below her shoulders) and would have liked to continue that way, but it's somehow unappropriate/unbecoming for an older woman. I would have dissmissed it as a single case of weirdness, but last weekend I ran into another saleswoman (also about 50 and with hair just below her shouldres) who said the exact same thing. Is this some kind of common cultural thing that I had never heard about before? Or is this a new trend?

And in either case why do they feel the need to follow the trend even though it goes against their own wishes?

Today's saleswoman was Finnish and the one from the last weekend was Russian.

Panic, panic, panic

Had a game session yesterday, but it wasn't the same without Leena. After the game drank sparkling wine with Anu and Seanna and,for a while, Meira, instead of doing anything useful. Hanging out with friends is just a lot more fun than useful activities.

Went to bed at 3. Woke up at 5 with the suspicion that one of the fans in my computer is making funny sounds. Went to bed again. Woke up at 7.

Have a shitload of things to do today. Better start counting:

1. Lots of stuff to do at work.
2. Buy food.
3. Buy booze.
4. Pay bills.
5. Load a new month's worth of time on my HKL ticket.
6. Buy fan.
7. Buy capri pants.
8. Buy more contact lens fluid.
9. Clean apartment (unpleasant but essential since otherwise will be eaten by mom. In fact will probably be eaten by mom anyway).
10.If all of the above is accomplished in reasonable time, see a movie with a lot of guns/swords and loads of graphic violence (hmm, Troy?).

Could just as well plan to catch Osama Bin Laden (hah, that would put an end to the money problems) and establish world peace.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Still cold, but getting better

They are promising 11 degrees Celsius for Monday - is that progress or what? France and Germany and Austria are also getting warmer and sunnier.

Dragged my ass to Krav Maga last night and this morning. Now the ass hurts.Yesterday we (or rather they) were practicing a thing I couldn't do since I have not mastered falling to the front and rolling over my head, and then some kicks. Today there were some hand and arm lock techniques and a lot of ways of hurting people without injuring them, just to control them and to drag them around. Also kicked each other (through the shields, of course) several hundred times.

Tried to read Garantua in the subway and found out that 16-century French is way too hard to be read in the morning in the subway. Or maybe it's just Rabelais. I remember that Villon did not use to be that hard even though he wrote earlier than Rabelais, or maybe I was younger and more energetic and more snobby when I used to read Villon. I probably should reread him just to compare.

Need to buy a fan before it's warm again. Also capri pants that have pockets.

I had complained to Alko about Pol Remy Brut bottles that turn into spontaneous sparkling wine showers. They promised to send me a book as a consolation prize. It better be a good one. They also asked me to bring what remains in the bottle if I ever run across another one like that. They seemed to be very surprised that it was Pol Remy Brut - they said they found this problem with demi-sec but not with brut.

China and Taiwan

Markku points out that China has been demanding reunification with Taiwan for 50 years now without actually doing anything about it, so nobody gets particularly alarmed when it does it again. That's true, but ever since Taiwan has been seriously considering declaring independece, China has become a lot more more active in its demands, although it is still not doing anything about it. And yes, this time they did not actually threaten to attack, but "reunification is more important than our lives" still sounds like a not-so-veiled threat of violence.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


It's cold. It was almost 0 last night. I looked up the weather all over Europe and it was cold there, too. Everywhere.

I am sort of dead now, but at work as a sort of room decoration. Couldn't sleep normally last night. Good thing the game session today got cancelled, or else I'd be dead tomorrow too. Luckily Killeri is coming over tonight (didn't we decide that we'd hang out over there now? Oh well, either way is OK with me) and if I am nice he'll revive me with his magic wand. :)

Lots of stuff to do, little time to do it in, The energy is very low but the mood is not bad. The thing on which I worked my ass off yesterday actually works, which is nice. The money is low too, or else I'd treat myself to a DVD of Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. I might do it anayway. Except that I'd prefer an Italian copy. OTOH won't have time to watch it or anything else till the end of the month, so what's the point of buying it now?

Men take notice: Viagra has some long-term benefits. Heads up, guys! And not only heads.

I want to go to Cannes. The festival starts today. Been there before, in 2000, A rather phychedelic experience: reporters hanging from palm trees (though obviously not by the neck). You (normal people) don't really get to see any movies there, or any stars unless you try very hard, but the whole fuss is a lot of fun to watch.

The newest Almodovar's movie is there (but not in competition), and the newest Wong Kar-Wai, and the newest Coen brothers, and Kosturica's Life is a miracle, and Moore's newest propaganda movie. A lot of other new stuff too, and some classics.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

In the news and blogs

This is a good personal account of May 9 in Grozniy by Tanya Lokshina. In Russian.

Putin is in Grozniy, and he sent 1000 Russian troops in there, too.

China considers legislation mandating eventual reunification with Taiwan. Funny, I don't hear any outrage from the people who are usually outraged at any country's attempt to forcibly reunify with a neighboring country. Is that because China is so big and scary?

'Reunification "is more important than our lives," Wen told Chinese Embassy staff in London on Sunday.', says the article. OK. It is scary.

"I deeply believe that one day Taiwan will return to the embrace of the motherland. This is a historical inevitability that cannot be blocked by any force," Wen said. Motherly embrace my ass. Can you say "bear hug"? And the last time I heard of "historical inevitability" it was from the people whose own country collapsed 3 years later, and they were not talking about the historical inevitability of the collapse.

If you are unsure about what the sexual market value theory is, uncle Tiedemies explains it very well. In Finnish.

No rest for the wicked

Woke up early to go to Krav Maga. As soon as I sat down on the bathroom's only seat a customer called. He was in a state of general panic and needed me right now. Managed to call twice this morning, and both times when I was in the john. And it's not like I live in there. Anyway, I figured that the guy is in such a hurry that maybe I should miss the morning Krav Maga lesson and go to work right then and to Krav Maga in the evening. Yeah, right. This was a lovely 11-hour workday with no lunch break, and by the time I got out of there Krav Maga was long over, and I was probably in no condition for it, either. Which is too bad: I really need to punch somebody now, and all the volunteers have gone home. Tried to punch the wall at work, but it shook so hard that I was afraid I'd break it.

Had to give a new Lisp interpreter to the customer, and then to fix the software to fit the interpreter, and then to fix all other things that the customer suddenly decided needed fixing. All of this while answering phome calls, SMSs and emails from that customer, the boss and another customer, and in turn bothering Lasu all the time.

Worse, I was planning to clean my place tonight, and now I am in no condition for that either. Feel like calling in dead tomorrow, but won't do that unless really dead, in which case won't do it either since dead people can't use the phone or even email. I think a nice cup of hot chocolate with rum would revive me tonight, but I doubt it will put me in a proper frame of mind for cleaning.

Have I mentioned I need a vacation?

Monday, May 10, 2004

On US politics, sort of

Boston Globe is wondering what would happen if terrorists assasinate a whole US presidential ticket (the president and the vice president candidates) just before the November election, or the winning ticket just after. Hmm, for the first case we have a sort of a precedent in Missouri in 2000: Governor Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash right before the election and was still elected against the incumbent Senator John Ashcroft, and I can well understand the people of Missouri. Having lost to the dead man Ashcroft left the Senate and moved on to become the head of the Department of Justice. OTOH, our presidential race is close enough this time that people would probably vote for the survivor. As for the latter case, we do have an order of presidential succession - but does it apply to a president-elect who has not taken office yet? If it does, or if he is Bush, the terrorists would have to off the whole cabinet as well as the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate in order to produce a proper political turmoil.

Iraq blogs

There are people blogging in Iraq. I recommend Riverbend, Raed/Salam, G (haven't been updated in a while), and Turning tables (a former US soldier who has just come back from Iraq; it somehow hurts my patriotic pride to see that all the Iraqis whose blogs I have just mentioned write better English than him, but he is well worth reading in spite of his spelling).

A freudian slip (found by Gniko)

The MTV3 news item about the death of Kadyrov. The last sentence: "Oli uusi presidentti kuka tahansa, hän saa jo virkaanostajaislahjana uhakseen lukuisia vihamiehiä ja johdettavakseen sekasortoisen valtion."

The torturer photographers

Now the names have been released, and, in addition to Pfc. Lynndie R. England, whom I mentioned earlier, they are:

Spec. Jeremy C. Sivits, 24. His parents don't believe he would have done such thing without orders. "Earlier, his father, Daniel Sivits, said his son was trained as a truck mechanic, not a prison guard, and would have gotten in trouble had he not followed orders to photograph the abused prisoners.", says Boston Herald.

Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick Jr., 37, who actually was a corrections officer in his civilian life, which makes me kind of concerned for American prisoners, too.

Spec. Charles A. Graner Jr., 35, who was also a corrections officer in his civilian life. Hmm...

Sgt. Javal S. Davis, 26,

Spec. Megan M. Ambuhl,

Spec. Sabrina D. Harman, was allegedly dreaming of becoming a police officer. Can you say "police brutality"?

According to Wasington Post, Ivan Frederick Jr. had told his family that they were ordered to get the prisoners ready for interrogation by military intelligence. "We help getting them to talk with the way we handle them," he wrote in an e-mail to his family in December. "We have had a very high rate with our style of getting them to break. They usually break within hours."

While looking for all this information I ran into several articles pointing out that what these people did to Iraqi prisoners was fairly lame as torture and for the most part did not involve severe physical pain or injury. That's probably true, but hardly an excuse.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Duskurssi aftermath

Somebody has forgotten vanilla sugar, a scary cutting implement and a leather thingie at my place. Please confess now.

R.I.H. Kadyrov

R.I.H. stands for "rot in hell". The people who did it should rot in hell too, though obviously not for Kadyrov but for blowing up a bomb at a concert.

Wonder who did it though. Must've been a long line of people wanting to. Kadyrov was an Islamist and a Putin loyalist at the same time, and was hated by pretty much everybody.

Chile and divorce

Chile has finally got a divorce law. Before they could only get annulments based on the fact that one or both of them had lied when getting married (usually gave a wrong address). Which of course meant that if they wanted any chance of an annulment they had to lie when getting married. Which brings us to the following question:

Christians haven't had easy and available divorce for a very long time, and in Christian cultures, including the ones where divorce rate reaches 50% now, "marriage is forever"-thinking is still quite strong. Of course even in cultures that have always had divorce, like Jewish and Moslem, it is considered desirable that the marriage should last forever, but there is no shame attached to considering the possibility of divorce even before the marriage. Christians and people of Christian background, OTOH, often tend to believe that one should never think of divorce, or take any precautions for the possibility of divorce, while marrying, and for this reason often do not sign a prenuptial agreement even when they need one. Of course not every Christian thinks like that, but I am quite sure in every Christian country there is at least a large minority who do. And the question is:

How does a system where a person's only possibility of divorce is through some action performed (like lying on the forms) while getting married affect such beliefs in population? Did Chile become a place where everyone gives a fake address when getting married, just in case, or were there a lot of people who gave the real address and then regretted it?


Had a little picnic and a nice bar night on Friday to celebrate Viljo's birthday. It was great, and besides the usual suspects there were people that I like but don't see very often. Hilpea hauki has a nice cabinet and a good selection of beer. And Chuan taught me to write old-style Chinese numbers, of whose existence I had been blissfully unaware till Friday.

Saturday there was a diskurssi party where I talked about life in the Soviet Union in the 70s and 80s. It was fun, but people brought an awful lot of food, and now I am the proud owner of the world's biggest collection of cheeses. WTF am I gonna do with them?

The fridge is way too full and the freezer is leaking. Fucking great. Should really catch the landlord and tell him about it, but he is not easy to catch.

Today just went for a walk, walked to Hietalahdentori in a vain hope to buy a fan, went to the Russian store, discovered they finally got Russian ice cream from Germany, bought two (they are fairly small), ate them, discovered that two is too much for a somewhat lactose-intolerant person, lectured the saleswoman on the ways of dealing with hairdressers (not my fault: she started first!) and just went walking around Helsinki. Ran into some Europe-event on Esplanadi featuring all new countries of the EU, the EU candidates (Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey) and for some reason all the Finnish political parties. Check out all the country tents (they were giving out maps and brochures) and added quite a bit to my map collection.

Should be cleaning my place, really, but instead am blogging, reading, watching movies and trying to dye my hair blue.

A torturer

One of the names of the US soldiers who tortured Iraqis has surfaced: she is 21-year-old Lynndie England from West Virginia. I am ashamed to say that as I read her biography all the politically incorrect stereotypes about the population of West Virginia and the people who live in trailers came to my mind. (Fornication with cousins and sheep, etc.)

The American "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military has often made people suggest that if the military is so afraid of gays they should start using them as a weapon on the off-chance that the enemy military is also afraid of them. The enemy will run in terror when they see a commanding officer telling a group of totally naked gay men: "456th Gay Infantry Assault Batallion! Dicks up! Chaaarge!"

Rumsfeld and all, listen: those were jokes. I was one of the people telling such jokes, and I call tell you: I, as well as, I am sure, most other such jokers, never meant it seriously. Scaring Iraqis with "and if you don't tell us what we want to hear, our women will come and rape you" is not really a good idea. Ditto with men. (I don't think it's known yet whether the person who raped a prisoner with some implement was a woman or a man).

Lynndie and her colleagues are about to find out that while torturing prisoners is despicable, being an amateur torturer and an amateur photographer at the same time can be bad for your military career.

A word of advice, Lynndie: after you get punished and get your dishonorable discharge, there is a great new career opportunity for you. You might not have heard about it, but there are men who would actually pay you decent money for stripping them, humiliating them and keeping them on a leash. And it's even legal in parts of Nevada. You have just gotten so much free publicity - don't waste the opportunity.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Buggy shit

I just fucking love it when some software works in my box and doesn't work in a customer's box. I love it even more when you update software and it suddenly starts working, even though the new version is the exact copy of the old one.

Those unsolved little mysteries of embedded programming never fail to add the sufficient amount of excitement to one's life.

I need a vacation. I also need to get laid. Both of the above happen every once in a while, but the problem is that they give only a temporary relief: after a vacation I just want another vacation, and after getting laid I just want to get laid again. Also, vacations and getting laid tend to be almost mutually exclusive things unless a manage to drag Killeri along. I never got the point of trying to have casual sex when somewhere abroad on vacation: it usually needs a lot more energy and produces much less results than trying to get laid in Helsinki.

BTW, on one of Santa Fe's bathroom stalls' walls there is a writing in Portuguese recommending Nordic guys over Latin ones.

News and blogs

Bin Laden is offering 22 pounds of gold to anyone who kills Coalition Provisional Authority head Paul Bremer. He is also offering gold for offing Kofi Annan, Annan's envoy to Iraq Ladkhar Brahimi, and 10000 grams of gold for the American cheif commander, whatever that means. Damn, either Osama is a lot poorer than he used to be or he has become very stingy. He is also calling United Nations a Zionist tool, of course.

Some asshole blew up a Shia mosque in Karachi. 5 dead, 50 wounded.

Hesari had an article on Hizb ut-Tahrir today. Here is their webpage. Like the Al-Muhajiroun that I mentioned earlier, their aim is to make the whole world one big Islamic state (oh, how much they remind me of early Communists!) and, like Al-Muhajiroun, they are making a piss-poor job of advertisement. They have some lovely quotes, too. "Abnormal behavior, mutilation and nudity can be found amongst human beings."

Heh. Michael Moore admitted that he had known for a year that Disney is not going to distribute his new movie.

Markku julisti kesän alkaneeksi, vaikka se on oikeasti alkanut jo viikko sitten.

Ilkka has found a great article on military draft.

The guy who has punctured 2000 tires got caught and punished.

Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (little spoilers)

Decided to finally act on my desire to see more Italian westerns and went to see Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) yesterday, especially since it was its last day in Bristol. Wow, wow, wow. It was a bit too stretched out in some places, it was dubbed in English, and the new and improved edition did not improve the quality of the image as much as I hoped to, but still wow. That's how westerns should be.

I was wondering about the Finnish name of the movie, which is in plural (Hyvät, pahat ja rumat), and Anu suggested that it might be because the movie was translated from English and not from the original Italian, and by people who have never seen it (there is one of each: three characters that are designated as the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, although they are all pretty bad and none of them is particularly ugly). She is probably right, but it's a scary thought.

The characters are colorful (that's an understatement), the gunfights awesome even though it's obvious that you'd never hit anything if you shoot like they do, and the relationship between the Good and the Ugly (who are apparently two heterosexual men, or at least the Ugly is wanted, among other things, for having too many wives) looks like a bad case of domestic violence where both parties are abusers and victims in turn, which makes it somehow even more amusing. The acting is good, at least in the case of the three main characters, and the Civil War makes a good background.

Young (well, fortyish) Clint Eastwood was fairly good-looking, which makes him a pleasant exception among Hollywood actors - for some reason Hollywood tends to avoid hiring good-looking men, or whatever I consider good-looking men, as actors. The same problem exists in all the other white countries. I have whined about it here before and will surely whine about it again.

Being inspired by the movie, I went home and also watched Per un pugno di dollari (A fistful of dollars) and liked that very much as well. Gotta see more Sergio Leone stuff. Also ones that are not westerns.

Been reading Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting in the subway lately. This morning I noticed that yesterday's movies are running severe interference with my enjoyment of this book, in the sense of making it somewhat unpleasant for me to read. It does not work the other way around: the book did not in any way interfere with the movies yesterday. I wonder whether it's just this book and these movies, or whether all the movies by Sergio Leone and all the books by Milan Kundera are somehow badly incompatible in my mind.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Got my ass kicked in Krav Maga again. I see it has become a habit. But I am getting better.

A bit overwhelmed at work, but the customer seems to be happy for now.

Awfully sleepy. Would be hungry, too, if were not so sleepy.

Why is everybody so worked up (whether in a positive or a negative way) about Aslan Abashidze getting his ass kicked out of Ajaria? Why did it make such big news in the West? And what did people expect to happen there?

And why is everybody so worked up about Rosa Merilainen's pot smoking? One would think that after Markus Drake they'd be accustommed to it. And why did she tell Image about it? Rosa, here's a hint: when you do something illegal you don't talk about it in an interview to a magazine. No, no, definitely not.

Rosa immediately got sick. Burnout.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

In the news

Three bombs exploded in Athens. Apparently the bombs were intended to produce casualties, but luckily didn't. Local terrorist groups are suspected.

CNN says that Disney has banned Miramax from distributing Michael Moore's new movie, 'Fahrenheit 9/11'. Having seen Moore's previous movie, Bowling for Columbine, I could understand if Disney made such a decision based on the movie's artistic merit, but the article says "The reason? According to today's edition of The New York Times, it might 'endanger' millions of dollars of tax breaks Disney receives from the state of Florida because the film will 'anger' the governor of Florida, Jeb Bush." Inquiring minds want to know what kind of tax breaks Disney receives from the state of Florida that depend on the good will of Jeb Bush.

Heads are finally rolling in the US Army for the prisoner torture, and UK is investigating their own allegations, too. Good. It would be nice to read the list of names of those who are about to be court-martialed.

Universidad Complutense de Madrid has nice pictures of the yesterday's lunar eclipse. Needless to say, it was cloudy here in Helsinki so I did not see it.


Al-Muhajiroun got a webpage.

Here are some fairly representative samples:

"ALL the laws of Kufr need to be eradicated and replaced by the laws of Allah (swt) immediately. We are commanded to implement Islam in ALL aspects of our lives and carry it to the whole world via Jihad so that we may succeed in this life under the domain of Dar-ul-Islam and in the hereafter in Jannah Inshallah."

"Why would Muslims need covenant from the kuffar? Muslims may be facing persecution, like from the taghout rulers today, like King Fahd etc, and for this reason they may go to a non-Muslim country for protection/Asylum, like the Muslims from Makkah went to Abyssinia at the time of the Prophet (saw). However that does not mean that we have to accept everything that they impose on us, like their law and order."

Later the page, however, goes on to explain that Islamic law does not allow Moslems who legitimately live in non-Islamic countries to kill locals and to steal from them. According to them, you can kill locals and steal from them only if you entered their country specifically for that purpose and pretending to be a non-Moslem, and "We should note that ALL of the magnificent 19 MARTYRS (inshaa Allah) on 11 September entered America like this, they did not betray any covenant, however for anyone living in the west, it would not be permissible for them to do the same act because they DO have a covenant of security.."

"It could be asked, If you enter with covenant, must you obey the law of the land?

NO, the covenant does not oblige that, it is specifically a covenant of security of life and wealth, and nothing else. it is a contract only to maintain sanctity for life and wealth, You must always follow the Shari'ah, and never follow kufr law. Regardless of what they ask of you, you cannot give up Islam or disobey Allah, nor use the covenant of security as an excuse to do so, even if they attempt to stipulate such conditions in your covenant. The Prophet (saw) said:
"Any conditions not in the book of Allah, is not valid.""

For those who do not know who Al-Muhajiroun are, here is a self-introduction: "Al-Muhajiroun is not a group or a political party. We are a Jama'ah (collective body) within Ahl us-Sunnah wal Jama'ah (The minority saviour sect) working towards the world-wide domination of Islaam." It was founded in 1996 in UK by Omar Bakri Mohammed. That's the guy who has just said that a terrorist attack on London was inevitable, and sounded rather proud of it.

They are recruiting, right on the streets of London. Even tried to recruit me sometime in summer 1998, which was pretty desperate of them.

Work, Tanja and London demonstration

Too much work, again. There is a demo today, and we've been fixing bugs like crazy.

Yesterday went out with Tanja (not the one I mentioned before, another Tanja). We were civilized and did not get drunk, had some Mexican food instead. Is it just me, or are Santa Fe beef fajitas slowly approaching their vegetarian fajitas in content?

Was nice to see her after such a long time. Then we went to my place and reminisced about transporting many kilos of soft sausage (lauantaimakkara-type) from Leningrad to Petrozavodsk by train. I did it once; she used to do it often when she lived in Petrozavodsk. It's not easy to transport 15-20 kilos of easily perishable sausage over a 10-12 hour train trip without any refrigerating possibilities, but we did it somehow. The sausage tended to assume a delicate green shade in the end of the trip, but people ate it anyway. Except that the people to whom my friend Gulya and I brought the sausage and some hot dogs needed instructions on how to eat them, having apparently long forgotten.

An AP photo of two guys at a demonstration in London.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


As soon as I get rid of the flu the birch pollen is out in force. Could not sleep properly last night, and even hot chocolate with rum didn't help. Oh well, Kestine and Duact are our friends.

I can see the spring has come from the amount of hits I get on this page from people looking for Duact on Google.

Ilkka has dug out an interesting table that lists US states, their average IQ, their average income and their votes in '00 presidential election.

There is a full lunar eclipse tonight.

127 tombstones have been defaced in a Jewish cemetery in Herrlisheim, France.

Jose Giovanni died. He had written and directed many good crime movies (I liked them, anyway), and you could see that the man was writing with a bitter voice of experience. R.I.P.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Meanwhile in the news

Thailand had a little bloodbath last Wednesday when a number of young and enthusiastic representatives of the world's most peace-loving religion attacked security checkpoints and were sent to permanently visit heavenly virgins.

In Nigeria a group of Christian Taroks attacked and killed 67 Moslem Fulanis, maybe in tribal warfare and maybe in the attempt to show Moslems that Christians can be very peace-loving too when they want. The scary thing is that for Nigeria both Christianity and Islam probably really are civilizing influences in comparison with many local customs.

Iranian history professor Hashem Aghajari was sentenced to death once again (the case is still going from court to court, and the verdict will be appealed again). Apparently he disapproved of hard-line Islamists. I wonder what exactly did he say?

Sharon lost his vote on Gaza withdrawal (the vote was inside his Likud party). Not good, at least from the point of view of establishing peace. It's funny how Gaza Strip Palestinians and Jewish settlers in Gaza both hate the idea of Israel withdrawing from Gaza, much as they hate each other. Somebody swayed the vote quite a bit by killing a pregnant Israeli settler woman and her 4 children - before that it was almost even.

Jewish settlers have tried to establish a 22d settlement in Gaza today, in a rather pathetic attempt for the title of the world's most peace-loving religion.

US Army is about to get its first female Moslem chaplain.

The city of Cambridge is promising to start giving out marriage applications to gay couples right after midnight on May 17.

A hospital in Canada has an outbreak (2 cases) of necrotizing fasciitis. Interesting, I did not know it was contagious in that way. It is caused by some streptococcus A, but I have always thought that it is not known why some people develop it while the vast majority don't. Somebody please enlighten me it you know more.


I think I got new neighbors, or the old ones have changed their habits radically. There used to be loud music and sounds of fighting with furniture coming out of that apartment, and for the last 2-3 weeks it has been only bloodcurdling screaming and occasional running. Also they were trying to have sex in a window (I did not stay in the yard to see how far they actually went with it).

At first I considered calling the police, but the screams do not sound like somebody calling for help, more like high-spirited savages from some Hollywood movie screaming while they are chasing each other with spears. I think they are having fun, although it's always fun and games until somebody gets a spear stuck in their ass.

New EU countries

EU got 10 new members on Saturday. (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus and Malta, in case you haven't noticed yet.) Don't know if it's a good thing. On one hand, I don't believe that eight of these are sufficiently civilized countries already (not sure about Cyprus and Malta). On the other hand, maybe joining the EU will help them get civilized faster without reducing the civilization level in the rest of the EU too much. They are poor, too, but they have fairly fast-growing and fairly free-market economies, which ought to be, at least to a degree, a good example to the rest of the EU.

Been to Prague and Budapest 3 years ago. Say what you may, but IMO a country where they try to cheat you in every second restaurant is not a civilized country - it's a banana republic. I hope they got better already, but am not holding my breath.

I don't know what will come out of this, but I am fairly optimistic, at least in the long run. Hey, for all it's worth: welcome to EU and try to be good.

Bits of Vappu weekend

Saw Sampo in Talo. I rarely see him in person, and every time I see him it always surprises me how much he looks like a barbarian hero, or at least like my idea of what a barbarian hero should look like. Except, of course, that he does not run around in a loincloth and with a battle-axe, at least not in my presence, and is obviously not really a barbarian hero, but a biologist.

As soon as I came home in Saturday evening, determined to clean my place, do lots of work, learn Cantonese, grill asparagus, lower the taxes, protect environment and establish world peace, the sinful IRC channel informed me that there was a party in Nelonen, and off I went. Was a good party, too, even though they managed to drink up all Bailey's before I arrived. Should've brought them some sparkling wine, but at the moment it was inconceivable to me that somebody might want to drink the stuff.

On Sunday I actually arose from the dead and did some cleaning. Had to, on account of being unable to find any summer clothes under the winter clothes. Did some cataloguing, too. Now most of the winter clothes are safely packed away, and I turned out to be a proud owner of 26 tank tops. I went out and tried to find a pair of shorts or capri pants that would fit me, stay up on me as opposed to falling down, would have the hoops to put a belt through (I don't remember what they are in any language) in case they fail to stay up on me after all, would have a sufficiently high waist for me not to feel wind in my asscrack, and would have pockets. In fact most of these requirements are not hard to fill, but apparently the anti-pocket conspiracy has stricken again.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Vappu, continued

Was very tired today though did not drink much yesterday and was not hungover. Woke up at 10, thought about Ullanlinnanmäki and decided not to go. Ullanlinnanmäki is a lot of fun in a circus kind of way, but other than that it's just a place where you go and it's full of people and you are trying to find your own people in the crowd but cannot, and the cell phones don't work because everybody is using them at the same time, and everyone is drinking sparkling wine, which is one drink I do not wish to even contemplate drinking today.

Took a walk in downtown just because my ass was feeling rusty and wished for somebody nice to materialize. And sure enough, Lena materialized on Kluuvikatu and we had some hot chocolate.


Places went to: 3 (not counting work in the morning)
Friends and other nice people seen: a lot
Meat products eaten: at least half a kilo
Drinks: 6 (very few due to a faulty batch of Pol Remy Brut that escaped from the bottle as soon as it was opened)
Of these, sparkling wine: 4
Drinks other people spilled on my jeans: 4
Weird thing tasted: dried jackfruit
Grills: 2
Allergy pills: 1

Went to Gniko's, then to my place, then to Talo in the evening. The party was great, especially since, unlike usually, there were no candles. Lots of people that I haven't seen in a while, some totally new people that were also very nice, etc. Guy was there and as always I felt like trying to force him to speak Finnish, but figured that angering a drunk swordsman is not a bright idea from a survival point of view. Viljo impressed me with the most, well, impressive piece of jewelry I'd ever seen in my life, and in some other ways, too (the hero of the Russian poem Luka Mudishchev came to mind). There was a little bowl of weird thingies as a conversation piece (everyone was asking what it is, suspiciouly trying a tiny little bit and going away without figuring out what it was), but finally I think we ate it all and it turned out to be dried jackfruit. Janka and Orava had beautiful new haircolor and I was a bit envious. Dior looked at everybody with a bit of disapproval, I don't know why.

I'd been very short on sleep lately, and was very tired by 1am, which is a shame because I really wanted to stay.

The batch of Pol Remy Brut which Lasu and I bought turned out to be defective: even after a week in the fridge it sprayed half of the content of the bottle on the floor. Gotta complain to Alko.